45. The Legend of Koizumi
Fuck all that other political satire you see out there. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report? Screw that noise. The Onion or whatever? Yeah, like I said, whatever. None of that shit tells you the truth about politics– that they may as well be playing silly games of mahjong when it comes to the idiotic decisions they make. It manages to skewer all sides of the issue, and while many of the shots it takes are all too easy to make (Anyone can mock North Korea or Bush Jr.), it manages to do so in ways that aren’t quite as obvious as most takes. And it’s about motherfucking MAHJONG being the deciding force in international politics. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. It’s hilarious. It’s exactly like politics. And you gotta give them credit for being willing to take it to China in addition to everything else they skewer. Give everyone the proverbial bird. Now if only they’d animated the Hitler arc…
44. The Legend of Black Heaven
If anything, this is an anime that’s gotten better the older I’ve gotten. And that makes sense since it’s about a salaryman stuck in a rut and trying to find ways to recapture the energy and excitement of his youth, only to find out that he needs to use his musical talents from said period of his life to literally save the universe. It’s like an autobiography, except I saved the universe using my pro Street Fighter skills to stave off a Venusian invasion back in ’07. But yeah, it captures that “I don’t wanna relive those old days, I just wanna recapture some of that magic” feeling that most youngsters mistake for being trapped in the past. They’ll learn soon enough.
This thing perfectly captures everything that makes Lovecraftian horror so awesome. It takes an absurd concept– zombie fish with robot legs rising out of the sea wrecking havoc– and runs with it far beyond its natural ends. It doesn’t just play off of zombie/alien/whatever invasion movies, it goes into the implications of this shit on a cosmic scale. It starts with rumors of World War II experiments gone wrong, but in the end it turns out that all this shit may be natural. Like, this is all a part of evolution and we’re doomed to become fodder for some form of higher-evolved species. It isn’t scary because of fish with legs gnawing on your legs, it’s scary because nature wants that to happen.
42. Macross: Do You Remember Love
I’m not a huge fan of the Macross franchise. I dig Macross Plus well enough, and I probably like Macross 2 more than most hardcore Macross fans (Although that’s not saying much since I just kinda tolerate it since I saw it at an early stage in my anime career.). I also never really developed a love for Robotech since I don’t remember it getting any kind of regular airplay on local stations when I was a kid. But I love the movie rendition of the story. I distills everything that’s good about the TV series, gets rid of all the tedious bits, and amps up the right things to ridiculous proportions. The final battle, set to Minmay’s horrifically cheesy and awesome pop tune, is one of the greatest anime action scenes of all time, and it still looks better than almost everything that’s come after it.
41. The Big O
It’s Batman: The Animated Series meets Dark City, except the creators thought it’d be super-awesome to toss in some steampunkesque giant robots for good measure. The concept is one of those brilliant messes that somehow end up far exceeding what it sounds like on paper. It’s another one of these “what in the hell is reality” series, and it manages to pull it off with a certain style we never see in anime. I’d love to see more anime purposely use a more American style when appropriate, since the look of Big O goes a long way towards distinguishing it from the rest of the post-Evangelion mecha series. That style adds an entirely new layer to the whole situation that wouldn’t be there if it was drawn like every other mecha series at the time. Easily one of the best mecha series of all time.